The Career Athlete: What it takes to Manage your Career

By: Cecile Peterkin

Managing your career, just like managing your life, requires preparation and ensuring that your time is directed meaningfully. Don't wait and see; make things happen. Just like athletes who prepare for the "big game" or a marathon, designing your career requires goals, planning, work, and above all, commitment. Think of yourself as a Career Athlete.

Being a Career Athlete requires awareness and action. Athletes are aware of their gifts, talents and abilities. They then focus their training on sharpening these skills with the goal of being the best they can be in their chosen area of expertise. Designing your career is no different. What are your gifts? What do you care about more than anything else? What work would allow you to connect to this purpose? This part of the process requires that you are honest with yourself.

Once you have answered these questions you need to focus your attention on the "training". What steps do you need to take in order to design a career that honors your abilities? What is in your way that you need to overcome, as you strive for this goal? Remember that fear is a natural and inevitable part of this process, but that it does not have to stop you. Identifying what keeps you from pursuing the career that you want is an important step. Knowing what may become a stumbling block allows you to move through it much easier when it occurs, rather than being stopped by it.

An Elite Athlete has a four phase training program which can be incorporated in the Career Athlete plan.

Phase I: Preparation. This phase is crucial in providing you with a firm base. What skills/strengths are fundamental to your success?

Phase II: Pre-competitive. What is the motivation behind what you want to do? Have you connected it to your value system?

Phase III: Competitive Peaking. The point at which everything you have been working toward comes together.

Phase IV: Active Rest. This is the phase of transition. A time when you are under no pressure. Use this time to have fun and celebrate the completion of phases I - III. This is also a good time for self-reflection, self-evaluation and future goal setting. Shape your career, don't let it shape you! Decide what you want and create your opportunities accordingly. Positioning yourself in your career will happen one step at a time with planning.

Self Improvement and Motivation
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